President Rivlin speaks on expected embassy relocation

'Must move from being on defensive to taking initiative, and clearly call on nations to stop boycotting Jerusalem as capital of Israel.'

Mordechai Sones ,

Mark Neiman/GPO

President Reuven Rivlin on Monday addressed a meeting at his residence in Jerusalem of current and future Israeli ambassadors and diplomatic mission heads stationed around the world.

In his address, President Rivlin began by thanking the diplomats for their contribution to the State of Israel. He added, “The Middle East and the whole world has undergone dramatic changes in the last year,” and noted the four major arenas that have profoundly influenced Israel, the first of which was the election of President Trump. “President Trump is a true friend of Israel. His election as leader of the world's strongest power had an impact almost immediately in our region in general, and on the State of Israel in particular. In my meeting with the President, I was impressed by his intentions to bring about a breakthrough in resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict and his strategic commitment to America's return to the Middle East.

"The United States stands by Israel, and seeks to rectify historic injustices that we have suffered for many years. The signs of this stabilization are apparent in every area and arena, in the field of international activity, and especially at the UN, in Europe and among other players in the international arena

"In its clearest expression, this stabilization was reflected in President Trump's decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. This decision tore the mask of hypocrisy that characterized and still characterizes the attitude of the international community to the capital of Israel. An hypocrisy expressed in a boycott of the location of embassies, a de facto boycott of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel, and in the delusional decisions taken at UNESCO and other international fora. Now we must move from being on the defensive to taking the initiative, and clearly call on the nations of the world to stop boycotting Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Seventy years have passed, this boycott has no justification, and our allies must join the United States.”

The second consideration noted by the President was the radical positions and statements of the Palestinian Authority. “In recent weeks, we have heard shocking and disappointing statements by Palestinian Authority Chairman Abbas. He was followed by members of the Palestinian Central Council, who called for a freeze on recognition of Israel and a halt to security coordination with us. Also among the various terrorist organizations, the motivation to carry out attacks has increased.

"The danger of a conflagration in the territories is increasing, and the Gaza Strip is currently facing collapse and disaster. I believe that even in the absence of a partner, it is not right for the State of Israel to take unilateral steps. Such moves, which have no international guarantees, expose and weaken Israel in the international arena. At the same time, and in spite of all the difficulties, Israel will continue to be committed to peace and building trust between us and the Palestinians, even if it takes a long time to realize this hope.”

The third change related to the strengthening of Iran and its satellites in Syria and Lebanon, alongside Russian involvement with strong interests, which the President noted required Israel to take extra care. “Our position on Iran is clear and well known: Iran is a danger to the entire free world,” the President added, “We think that European countries should join the US administration and demand an amendment to the agreement with Iran. We must not overlook what Iran is not even trying to hide.”

The fourth issue the President noted, was the military collapse of the Islamic State, “This collapse is drawing the center of gravity of its activity to Beirut in the west. Among the many targets of the murderous organization’s activity are Israeli and Jewish targets abroad. We must all be vigilant. Israel shares high quality intelligence with many countries and is a very significant part of the fight against terror. Many countries thank us for this, but things have to be expressed politically.”

He continued, “Each of these four changes presents Israel with challenges and opportunities in the international arena.”

The President concluded by speaking on the phenomenon of the rise of the far-right in Europe, “Today, we see how in many places new right-wing parties are winning electoral achievements while using and spreading anti-Semitic slogans. The State of Israel must be clear in its approach. Whoever is in alliance with anti-Semites and anti-Semitism has no part in the family of nations. Let us not be mistaken - there is no such thing as loving Israelis and hating Jews. The clear and important voice of the State of Israel and its decision not to hold contacts with representatives of the Austrian Freedom Party, is the bare minimum for a nation that remembers and will remember its victims. It is our moral duty to remember and not to forget, to learn from the sins of the past and to look into the future. It is a Jewish duty that demands of us to look beyond short-term interests, anywhere and at any time.”